A Friday wouldn’t be a Friday without some kind of week-ending nugget, a Mac gem, something to savor while you dine out using the money you saved with these top tools and utilities.
Did I mention that they’re free? Sure, capitalist businesses and governments thrive when money changes hands, but, it’s Friday, and you deserve a Mac break today. Pun intended, courtesy of all the CompUSA folks working at Mickey D’s.
Despite the world’s economic woes I’m here to give you comfort while others around you mourn the loss of spendable income due to the greed and avarice of Wall Street, Windows PC users all of them.
What makes for a great Mac utility? It isn’t just the free part, though that helps. Mac utilities are like comfort food; they need to make us feel good. When we buy a new application and it doesn’t work as expected, we’re bummed out, right?
When a utility or app or tool is free and it works even better than expected, well, we get all warm and fuzzy inside and share our newfound knowledge with colleagues, friends, neighbors, and anyone who will listen. We also heap praise, adulation, a cash donations upon the Mac Mommy who gave you the tip.
So, here it is, Mother Alexis’ 17 Top Free Tools and Utilities for Mac users. A caveat or two, if you will. No Apple products. No Adobe products. No Microsoft products. Not that they give us much for free, but a line must be drawn in the sand somewhere, and I choose here.
Oh, and over there. Nothing from Google, either. And no GIMP (puhleeze). And no Star Office wannabe, either. Oh, one more thing. There’s a surprise at the end, so be prepared.
#17 – NetNewsWire
Despite the fact that most people I know can’t even spell RSS, is there really anything better at browsing more sites than Moses had nose hair than NetNewsWire? It’s even free on the iPhone.
#16 – CyberDuck
Yeah, I know. CyberDuck is on everyone’s list of free Mac stuff. Just as the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason, CyberDuck should be on your Mac.
#15 – VLC
Sure, our Macs come with QuickTime movie player. But it just takes soooo long to say Q-u-i-c-k-T-i-m-e and even longer to spell. That makes VLC the perfect media player companion on your Mac.
#14 – Handbrake
What’s a list without a perpetual beta product. Handbrake rips DVD movies to your Mac for free (and so much more), now at version 0.9.3. And they’re proud of that.
#13 – TweetDeck
Alright, I admit it. If I were not so in love with Tweetie I would be in love with TweetDeck, the Twitter utility for the Twitter users who don’t tweet (and you know who you are). TweetDeck is on the iPhone, too. It’s like a twofer.
#12 – iStat Menus
Carrying the tradition of everything iThis and iThat is iStat Menus, because, well, you know, your Mac’s Menu Bar is oh so blank and all.
#11 – AllBookmarks
Everyone with too many bookmarks raise your hands. Stop collecting and start organizing with AllBookmarks 3ish. It’s like taking bookmarks from a baby.
#10 – Flock
Our religious heritage as Mac users requires us to love Safari first, but dabble in the Mozilla occult, in this case ditching the magic of Firefox for the social scene of Flock, the social browser. Why? I don’t know. I’m antisocial.
#9 – DMG Converter
Sure, OS X’s Disk Utility makes disk images and it’s free, too, so what’s the big whoop about DMG Converter. It’s free. And, uh, it, um, does more.
#8 – Adium
Yes, Virginia, children the world over still chat on their Macs and PCs. And Adium chats more than everyone else from Google to Yahoo! to AIM, and various and sundry other formats only a geek would love.
#7 – AppleJack
#6 – Dropbox
Here’s the deal. Do you email files to yourself so you’ll have them? If so, Dropbox is better; mostly ‘cause I say, but also because it’s free and it can sync and send files Mac to Mac and online.
#5 – InstantShot
I have exactly twenty eleven ways to capture screen images on my Mac, and one of them is free (besides the utility in Mac OS X).
InstantShot sits in your Menu Bar until you need it and snaps what you need a bunch of ways. Did I mention that it’s free?
#4 – PTHPasteboard
Honestly, if you’re not using this, then you’re not paying attention. Free. Utility. Tool. What’s not to like? PTHPasteboard is like having a Mac clipboard with a really, really long memory.
#3 – Onyx
Walk a mile in a geek’s moccasins and use Onyx. It handles system maintenance that should run when you’re asleep and you Mac is turned on, but you’re probably lying in bed wishing you were turned on instead of your Mac. Onyx does the naughty during daylight.
#2 – iBackup
SuperDuper! is the best, most dependable backup utility any human can own. Amazingly, it’s not free. More amazing is that SuperDuper! will clone your Mac’s hard drive resulting in a perfect backup—for free. It just takes longer to do it than the resignation speech of an Alaskan governor.
iBackup is free and doesn’t do as much but it does the essentials, which is back up your data and settings, and then restores same.
#1 – LimeWire
Sure, you share files, right? LimeWire can help you. No, it won’t pay for your legal fees when the RIAA comes knocking on your door asking about all those ABBA and Barry Manilow MP3’s you
As promised, 17 great Mac tools and utilities that won’t cost you a dime. What’s the surprise? They were not in order. Seriously. Who would put LimeWire ahead of PTHPasteboard?
Got a free Mac utility that I missed? Share with me and everyone else in the world by popping down to the Comments section below.